Two Michelin-starred chefs could be forced to remove the outdoor seating area of one of their restaurants in Dublin after it was refused planning permission on grounds it endangers public safety.
Dublin City Council has turned down an application by the owners of Osteria Lucio — a popular Italian restaurant next to the railway bridge on Grand Canal Quay — for retention permission for its outdoor seating structure.
The restaurant is owned by Ross Lewis, who also runs the award-winning Chapter One restaurant on Parnell Square, and Italian chef Luciano Tona.
The application to retain the outdoor seating area was opposed by several local residents who claimed it was an unauthorised development as its licence had expired and that it had taken over a large section of the public footpath.
A spokesperson for Dublin City Council confirmed it had issued an enforcement notice on Osteria Lucio earlier this year over its outdoor seating structure and that “investigations are ongoing”.
One local resident, Francis Neary, said the seating area took up most of the width of the footpath which meant buggies and people in wheelchairs had been left with a passageway less than one metre wide.
“As a result of Osteria Lucio’s taking from the public footpath, it is no longer possible for two people to walk side-by-side on this stretch of footpath,” Mr Neary said.
Another objector pointed out that the restaurant’s outdoor seating licence had expired in January and that it had required a clearance width of 1.5m of public footpath to be maintained.
The restaurant had maintained that the new structure took up “precisely the same floor area” as allowed under its outdoor seating licence.
Consultants acting for Osteria Lucio claimed the new shelter, which comprises an aluminium and glass enclosure with a retractable roof, made “a more positive contribution to the visual character of the building façade than the previous awning”.
In its ruling, the council said the restaurant’s outdoor seating structure reduced the width of the public footpath to less than one metre.
It said the structure endangered public safety as it posed a traffic hazard by obstructing pedestrians.
Council planners also refused planning permission for the structure on the basis that it seriously injured the special architectural character of the historic Malting Tower on Grand Canal Quay and the adjoining railway bridge.
They said allowing it to remain in place would be injurious to the character of a sensitive streetscape and would “set an unwanted precedent for similar type development”.